Union postures for work stoppage

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The executive board of the baseball players' union failed to set a strike date Monday but will ask major leaguers for the authority to call the sport's ninth work stoppage since 1972.

Members of the union's executive board, meeting on the day before the All-Star game, left a hotel near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport saying they will go back to their teammates. Philadelphia outfielder Doug Glanville said that because of the uncertain position, it was wise to "prepare for the worst."

After the expiration of the previous labor deal Nov. 7, owners proposed economic changes that would slow salary growth. Players are worried that as negotiations drag on into the fall, owners may try to unilaterally change work rules or lock out players, freezing offseason signings and trades.

"From the players' standpoint, a strike is a last resort," union head Donald Fehr said. "It would not be entered into unless the players feel they had no other viable option, and it is our hope over the next few weeks we will be able to have the kinds of serious and substantive discussions with major league owners we have heretofore been unable to have, and will resolve these issues."

During a five-hour session, Fehr briefed players on the slow-moving talks, which are scheduled to resume Thursday in New York.

"Hopefully this will light a fire under them to get negotiations going," Chicago White Sox pitcher Kelly Wunsch said.

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